Due to be located in the northern area of the park, the new extension – which will be themed to a mediaeval castle – will sit on the site of the existing Dino Safari Ride which will be demolished to make way for the new hotel. Consisting of three stories, the extension will have its own ‘Castle theme’ to distinguish it from the current Legoland Hotel. Although the proposal is for the extension to have 61 rooms, the development will actually lead to a net gain of 59 rooms as 2 existing rooms will need to be removed from the current hotel as part of the development. As with the current hotel, the new extension will offer a mixture of both standard bedrooms and themed ‘premium’ bedrooms. Other features of the new extension include its own lobby/reception area, outdoor decking and play area overlooking the lake, and a small restaurant/bar which will have the capacity to serve breakfast and daytime drinks and snacks, however will not be able to accommodate a full dinner service. There will also be a number of alterations and enhancements to the facilities in the exiting hotel to help provide facilities for the additional accommodation. These include two new lifts; a relocation of the current shop in the hotel entrance area; the creation of a viewing gallery to the pool area; and most significantly, an extension of the existing hotel restaurant to provide an additional 200 covers to enable guests in the new accommodation to be served.
During the meeting councillors did express concerns about the number of planning applications submitted by Legoland Windsor Resort in recent years. Typically each new application is accompanied by a travel plan to help assess the impact any proposed new addition would have on the already heavy traffic in the local area. However, councillors feel that this approach means they are constantly playing ‘catch-up’ and stated that Legoland needs to provide a master plan, rather than individual applications. As a result representatives from both Merlin Entertainments and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council will meet to discuss future plans, something which could potentially lead to a Long Term Development Plan being devised for the Resort.
Although the plans for the new hotel extension have been approved by the local council, due to the proposed location for the development being on greenbelt land the application has to be formally referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for a final decision.
The new hotel represents a development of Merlin Entertainments’ strategy of encouraging more guests to book multi-day stays. The plans also aligns with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council’s visitor strategy’s aim of persuading visitors to ‘stay longer and spend more’, as well as capitalise on the growth of the short breaks market.
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